- November: Food/Canned Goods and Money
- December: Clothing (Coats, Shoes)
I need a solid plan but this is pretty much the focus around the holidays.
I apologize for not updating my blog more often, but I have been busy writing my novel and researching information. I hope to start back up by next week or the week after. Until then, I would like to take the time to congratulate Jeff Bethke on his book deal with Thomas Nelson!!!
This week has had it’s ups and downs and I apologize to all of my faithful readers who have not been updated with new blog posts. I will be posting some tomorrow. Today, I found out that a friend of mine that I have known since the 3rd grade passed away. Sadly he was shot in the chest after a dispute with someone else.
It’s sad that nowadays, you have to fear for your life after a petty argument or confrontation. It has hit everyone who knows him very hard because he was so outgoing that most of us had talked to or seen him within the last 3 months or so.
His family is in my prayers. May he rest in peace.
Alex Malarkey, Books, Boy Who Went To Heaven, Christian Books, Christian Writing, Disabled, God, Heaven, Kevin Malarkey, Life, Little Boy Goes To heaven, Little Boy's Account Of Heaven, My Thoughts, Quadripelgic, The Bible, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, Trip To Heaven
I was surprised about The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, for starters, I thought it would be a copycat version of Heaven Is For Real. I only assumed that because Heaven Is For Real is the more popular of the two, and I had never heard of this one until a few months ago. Every time I heard the title I thought someone was referring to Heaven is For Real.
Boy, was I wrong! I can honestly say that The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven” is my personal favorite of the two novels. It draws comparison to Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven because it discusses a great deal of Alex’s recovery from his injuries.
A Quick Summary:
At the beginning of the novel, Kevin, the narrator and father of the injured boy Alex went into detail about the accident that left his son injured. He was talking on the phone with his wife, looking back at his son who asked him a question, all while driving. He didn’t see the vehicle approaching that would hit soon hit his car. At the scene of the accident, people and emergency staff came to help Kevin and Alex, Even when some thought that Alex was dead from the way his head hung, they still prayed for him.
Doctors at Columbus Children’s Hospital soon discovered that Alex had sustained a major neck injury. One expressed his doubt that Alex would survive due to the severity of his injuries. And that’s when it happened. The people came together and prayed for Alex faithful. People would come into the hospital just to pray for Alex in his hospital room. The prayers grew when Kevin launched prayforalex.com, where the family tracked his progress.
Throughout this time, the family suffered from other hardships like financial issues. God answered every worry that Kevin had. After 4 months of being in a coma, Alex finally woke up from his coma. The family came together to learn what they needed to take Alex home and care for him themselves. He ended up in the hospital a few times after that.
More importantly, Alex accomplished milestones that the doctors doubted would be possible because of the injury. He could talk. With every chapter it seemed like Alex continued to prove predictions wrong. The Malarkey family is convinced that if it’s in God’s will Alex will walk again whether it is here or in Heaven.
That’s pretty much the best quick summary I can give.
I had several emotional moments where I empathized with the Malarkeys. The most emotional was probably when their home suffered damages from a snow storm that left the family nearly homeless and in need of a new roof. I remember pausing during this part of the story and looking up the ceiling asking “Why God?”, but after reading Kevin’s father’s point of view, it changed my entire outlook on life and God’s blessings.
With every hurdle I felt compassion for the Malarkeys, but I also felt joy because every need was met through the good will of God’s people who they were blessed to be surrounded by. When they needed a van for Alex and all of his equipment, a church (that the family did not attend) donated money in order for them to purchase one; when they could not afford the $15000 bill to send Alex on a two week stay at the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury, the Eric Westacott Foundation raised $30,000 which allowed Alex to attend on two different occasions; Alex became the youngest person to receive the “Christopher Reeves” surgery, where a diaphragm pacing system is installed into his body in replace of him carrying around a 60-pound ventilator.
Throughout the novel, Kevin Malarkey really stressed the glory of God. God works in the most amazing ways. If there was ever a time that I truly believe a novel about God, it was this book. It was beyond touching and well-written. Alex is a quite admirable young boy. God bless his family!
Adult Bullies, Advice, Bullies, Bullying, Christian, Christianity, Christians, Family, Fighting, Forgive, Forgiveness, Forgiveness Without An Apology, Forgiving, Friends, God, Gossip, Gossiping, Growth, Heartbreak, Hurt, Lane Alton, Letting Go, Life, Moving On, My Thoughts, Pain, Personal, Personal Growth, Random, Self Control
“You can’t change a person’s actions but you can change how you react.”
We all have that one thing that someone can say or do that sends us over the edge. My biggest pet peeves are spreading gossip out of malice, selfishness, and a lack of self-control. Up until recently, I truly believed that I had built a tolerance these. Before I couldn’t even be around anyone who gossips, acts selfish, or cannot control his or herself without becoming agitated, but now I can without a hint of a negative reaction.
I usually ignore the conversations that steer towards gossip and walk away from situations that could easily turn into altercations. I don’t even mean altercations that I could become involved in, but just witnessing it bothers me. As I child, I knew a person who embodies my annoyances, and as an adult no one ever confronted her for her behavior. Now, she is even older and still carrying herself in that manner. I can’t even be around her for long periods of time.
Knowing this, my mother told me to write letters to her to release the pent up frustration. It worked for me for a while and I even thought that my pet peeves were no longer pet peeves. That was until evil reared its ugly head once again (I had to be around her again).
Are you thinking that I should have just pulled her aside and talked about it? Yeah, you must have missed the lack of self-control part. If you try to talk to her, she will react negatively and interrupt you every time you open your mouth. After that, it will quickly escalate to cuss words and a lack of personal space. It doesn’t matter if it is an adult or child, she will talk to you in that manner. I’ve witnessed it and been on the receiving end myself as a child. The most frustrating part is she brings it up years later and reminisces and laughs about it. Of course, this is because she has never been told that she was wrong. Imagine that, an adult bragging about verbally abusing a child or carrying herself in a classless manner in public.
I was always left wondering how I can forgive someone for their imperfections when they continue to do the same things that bother me -but I have not failed to make them aware of my feelings. Some people do not realize how destructive their words and actions can be towards other people’s live, or maybe they simply do not care at all. Sad, I know. In this particular situation, she does not care.
Feeling frustrated, I talked to my grandmother about it and her words weighed heavily on my mind: “Forgive them without an apology, and then go to God. He will handle it.” I have never thought to go to God because I had such negative feelings towards the person that I believed that may be I was the one wrong for feelings this way, that I may have been nitpicking. You know that saying, “Once you start to dislike someone, everything they do begins to annoy you.” Then I talked to other people who knew her and they felt the same exact way. The only reason that someone has never said anything to her is because she is so verbally abusive.
I always envisioned moving far away to not be around her anymore. I would send her my letter upon my departure and no longer care about her actions, or whether she read the entire letter or threw it away after the first sentence. As of right now, I want her to read it so that she knows the effects of her actions. She’s never cared about it then questions why she experiences Hell in her life right now.
I firmly believe that someone shouldn’t have to build a tolerance around someone whom he or she dislikes just to keep the peace, especially when you feel like it’s eating inside of you. Sometimes, we just have to go to God and ask for some sort of change. The hurt should never feel guilty about their feelings when those who hurt them could care less about their actions.
Write a letter. Send an e-mail. Schedule a meeting. Move away.
No matter how you choose to handle the situation, remember to forgive and then let God handle the rest. You will feel much better no matter the outcome.
…and there is always something or someone who will make your dreams hard to grasp. It’s normal to have to deal with a person who says that your dreams are unrealistic, unattainable, and downright foolish. But what if that person is God? And he’s pushing you down, over and over to the point that you have to question if he’s trying to warn you that this dream is not intended for you.
Like I said in my last post, I’ve had to deal with that on the path to my dreams. And I could not tell whether it was a warning, a test, or a blessing. My whole life was on halt not just my career goals. What did he want from me? Was I not spiritually strong enough to handle the experiences that I would have to face? I didn’t know.
One thing that I did know is that my dreams were deferred, not taken away from me. Honestly, I never realized it before but I blamed God for not making things happen when it was really my own fault. I allowed a distraction to block my vision of my initial desires, the ones I had been praying about for years. Before I knew it, I was changing my prayers and asking for the exact opposite. Even after the distraction was gone, I still focused on my new desires instead of revisiting one that I had had since I was much younger. I was set on vengeance to prove one person wrong about everything. At the end of the day it really did not matter until I looked at the bigger picture. What if we all led our lives to do things that we really didn’t want to do because we wanted to prove others wrong? I know I wouldn’t have been that content with myself.
There was a reason the desires stayed with me years before the distraction came. There was a reason why God pushed me to pray for those desires as much as I did. And just like that, I threw it all away. Had I just listened to my heart and been patient with God, I would not have wasted nearly 4 and a half years instead. Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach. L
I experienced struggle in my life for four years because I pushed against God to make someone else happy. I ignored his warnings. I wanted what I wanted, and I wanted him to supply it when I wanted. Who was I to get that angry and lash out at God when in reality he was saving my future? Who was I to get angry because God was not doing more when I was just being stubborn and wanting to do too much?
Finally, I sat down and looked at my life. During this summer I reflected on things that had occurred throughout my life and my overall satisfaction with my situation. Then I realized it, I was willing to put off where I was intended to be, to spend more of my life wasting time and watching years pass. I could do the same things that I desired anywhere. And the only reason why it was not accomplished years ago was because I, me, not God, altered it last minute. He told me to wait a year but I didn’t want to. Why, because I was stubborn and impatient. Two of my biggest flaws. What were the repercussions? He made me wait 3 years (…or maybe I did that to myself by ignoring God’s hints and focusing and moving forward on something else?).
I understand it now. The distraction was a test that I was supposed to ignore. I was not supposed to give it as much attention that I did, although at the time I believed that it was fate and best for me. When it didn’t work the first time I didn’t give up because I was relentless. The second time, I kept going after it and God had warned me enough. Even worse, the path that was intended for me was an easier one. Sometimes the easier path isn’t a trap or a test, or too good to be true. It’s a blessing; it’s a stepping stone to something greater.
I often look back wondering why God did not stop me dead in my tracks and forced me to listen to the signs that I belonged in a certain place at a certain time, rather than watch me suffer. But really, would I have listened? Probably not, because I was so determined and I felt that I knew what was better for me than God Because I cared about my happiness now, not the unseen consequences of the future.
So if you have a dream, listen to your heart and pray as much as you can because no matter how much someone says you cannot do something or that it is impossible, GOD HAS THE FINAL SAY.
The Lord will provide not for all our wants but for the things he believes we need.
I have definitely fell victim to the ‘woe is me’ pity party. I had thoughts that God was directly punishing me for other people’s mistakes. It felt like no matter how hard I tried there was a hurdle waiting around the corner to destroy everything that I had worked hard for.
I grew bitter. There was no way that struggle was supposed to last this long. I would sit around thinking “You know I could go out and sin, but instead I come to you.” It was disheartening. All He had to do was let things work in my favor and I could the rest. I liked working hard so I asked very little of him.
Well, God doesn’t work that way. He wants you to depend on him. All I had to do was pray and listen more.
My issue was that it seemed like the more I prayed, the more lost I became. I didn’t know when an opportunity came whether it was a blessing, a test, or a warning. That’s the hardest part about prayer, you have no idea what opportunities to avoid and which ones to take advantage of.
When I was younger it was difficult to believe that there was a loving God when he dragged me through Hell sometimes. I hated the fact that there was always a response to my complaints: “It may be a test”; “Give him time”; “the struggle will make you stronger”; “It may not be meant to be”. It was hard to hear. All I wanted was a definite answer. I wasn’t learning anything, but to do things on my own without needing to ask God.
It’s frustrating because we really don’t know which door God wants us to open for each situation. We just have to assume that the struggle in pursuing something mean either “yes, try harder” or “no, there’s something better for you”; a hurdle signifies a test or the lesson of patience, and excellence means yes it’s meant to be for now at least.
We are strategically built by God to be able to acquire the knowledge, experience, and strength to succeed in all that we are intended to do. Sometimes the struggle foreshadows an even greater reward. We just have to remember that something is in store for us all.
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God continued to be faithful in the midst of our messes.
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I’ll do a review on it later.